Layer Cake (15) Reviews

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Layer Cake (15)
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“Plot ”


written by rappinhood on 21/11/2005

Layer Cake is a film in the fine, if bloody, tradition of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Gone in 60 Seconds and Snatch In other words, it's about the criminal underworld and it has a high body count. Don't say you haven't been warned.

The film is set in London and the opening shots are a sort of 'everything you wanted to know about cocaine' and then some, as we witness drugs being packaged for sale.

Our hero, who remains unnamed throughout the film, is played by Daniel Craig. He is a clean-living drug dealer (doesn't drink and definitely doesn't inhale) who feels that remaining in crime is a mug's game (too many deaths) and has decided that he will get out. He pays a visit to his accountant who is about to 'do his laundry' to the tune of £1 million. He then gets a call from top gangster Jimmy Price, who ruins his escape by assigning him to look for a missing girl, Charlie, the daughter of Jimmy's old friend Eddie Temple. He's also instructed to handle the sale of 1m Ecstasy pills. Jimmy's fixer, Gene, is to handle the liaison aspects.

Aside from the main plot and subplots outlined above, there's also another subplot where our hero is pulled by a minor character's girlfriend, a move which is to have repercussions throughout the film. The way our hero manages to keep everyone happy and walk away with his money make for an entertaining and compelling film.

The Ecstasy pills have been stolen from an Amsterdam hard man by Duke, triggering (and I use the word deliberately) an attempt to recover the merchandise that results in several deaths and a few good lines. Duke goes missing, prompting the gangster version of an APB, and is not found until near the end for the film.

With all this going on, our hero's life begins to spiral out of control but this savvy and likeable character continues to plan his escape, meeting setbacks with humour or force, as required. There are many killings, kickings and beatings before he achieves a suitable resolution.

Viewing experience
I can see why this is called 'Layer Cake'. The timeline is difficult to follow, as it swoops back and forth between the present, near future and far past with no regard for the poor viewer's brain power. It's also quite hard to keep track of all the characters (at one stage I thought Duke had met a hot end (I won't spoil it by saying what that was) but it later turned out he hadn't. The omniscience of the criminal underworld (everyone seems to know what's happened and who's done it unfeasibly quickly) is also hard to swallow.

Indeed, I have rarely seen so many double crossings, but everything is explained by the end, including why certain characters are eliminated, why Eddie Temple is unhappy about the search for his daughter, and what Jimmy Price is really up to.

Cinematography is great. The London setting provides lots of opportunities for clever filming of tourist attractions and zooming in to view well known landmarks. The garden scene, where a swimmer was filmed from underwater, was also a visual winner.

Best scene
The caf revenge scene is the most compelling. I practically held my breath till it was over. Marty's view that 'This sh*t is outta control' could also describe that scene.'
Best lines:'England, typical; even drug dealers don't work weekends'
XXXX: Yeah, it does. Listen Dragan do you know where I live? Dragan: No. XXXX: Then, f**k off, then.
Eddie Temple: 'You're born, you take sh*t. You get out in the world, you take more sh*t. You climb a little higher, you take less sh*t. Till one day you're up in the rarefied atmosphere and you've forgotten what sh*t even looks like. Welcome to the layer cake, son'

Final word
I thoroughly enjoyed this film, as I have other trips into the criminal underworld. The acting is excellent. Daniel Craig, Michael Gambon and Jamie Foreman all shine in their roles. While I wouldn't rate it as highly as 'Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels', it's still an entertaining and riveting film.

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“Layer Cake is not as good as the other films in this...”


written by pnadin on 25/10/2005

Layer Cake is not as good as the other films in this genre (ie Snatch and Lock Stock) as it lacks the comedy present in the other films. The film is saved by a great plot with clever twists that make up for the lack of humour. Can now be bought from most places for about £6.

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